Texas Lottery's Proposed Game
- Texas Triple Chance - 401.322 -
In My Opinion & the
CA Supreme Court's Opinion
& the Illinois AG's Opinion ...
This Game Is Not A "True" Lottery Game
brought to you by
Originally Posted: Jan 30, 2014 - 11 PM
Revised: Feb 10, 2014 - Added Copy of
Senator Deuell Request for An Opinion
Texas Triple Chance - 3 Separate Postings
With this letter, I've done all I can do - Posted 1/30/14. Click here
Is this game a true lottery game? Is it legal? Posted 1/20/14, Click here
"Secretly" Proposed - Details New Game - Posted 1/7/14, Click here
Read Dallas Morning News
Story About Texas Triple Chance
Appeared Feb 12, 2014 -
Senator Deuell Requests an AG Opinion ...
Does Texas Triple Chance Qualify As a "Lottery"
Read Senator Deuell's letter, Click here (a pdf - 02/10/14)
My letter to the AG - (a pdf - 01/28/14), click here
(My letter shown in html below - scroll down)
- Editorial -
Opinions expressed here are those of
About My Letter To The Attorney General
In my second posting, I explained why I believed Texas Triple
was not a true "lottery" game. I firmly believe that the
TLC does not have the authority under the Texas Constitution
to offer this game to consumers. I pray my letter sufficiently
conveys the points of law to support my belief.
What you all need to understand is that there are only
four (4) legal ways to gamble in Texas. We have horse
racing, raffles, Bingo and a state lottery.
"One on one" wagering is not legal in Texas yet
the Texas Lottery is proposing to offer you another
game where they are a participant in the game. Because
they are clearly a participant, then they care about the
outcome of each drawing and each and every wager.
With the writing of my letter, this issue is out of
my hands now. I've done all I can
in an attempt
to protect the players from what I feel is a
very unfair game for a number of reasons.
I did send copies of my letter to a number of
Representatives and Senators. I tried to select those
who I believe have a sincere interest in the lottery.
All I can say now is, it will be interesting to see what
action the AG takes, what action the Commissioners
take and what action our lawmakers take.
Finally, my letter references an Opinion issued by the
General, so I am also giving you a copy
of that opinion as well.
I'm certain some of you may
want to read the entire Opinion.
Now read my letter and let's see if you understand
why I say what I do and if you agree with me.
My letter to TX Attorney General Abbott, pdf
2006 Illinois Attorney General Opinion, pdf
My Letter in html
Jan 28, 2014
The Honorable Greg Abbott
Office of the Attorney General
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
RE: Complaint - TX Lottery - Immediate Attention Needed
Dear General Abbott:
As a concerned tax paying citizen of Texas, it is my belief that the Texas Lottery is proposing to add an online (draw) game that would not be in the Commissions authority under Article III, Section 47 of the Texas Constitution. Let me briefly explain the game and why I say this.
About the Proposed Game
The proposed game (ripe for adoption Feb 3, 2014) is Texas Triple Chance. Players will select 7 numbers from a pool of 55 numbers but the Texas Lottery will draw 10 numbers. The Texas Lottery is proposing to play this game 6 nights per week at 10:12 p.m. Tickets cost $2. For the $2, players will receive 2 free Quick Picks plus their original set of numbers.
The prize structure - all fixed - preset prize amounts - Match 7 numbers: $100,000; Match 6 numbers: $500; Match 5 numbers: $25; Match 4 numbers: $5; Match 3 numbers: $2. However, the jackpot is capped at $1 million - meaning if more than 10 jackpot winners, it converts to a pari-mutuel payout. There is NO prize pool - its one on one - player against the TLC.
Problems with the Proposed Game
1. Texas Lottery is a participant in the game
2. Texas Lottery has an interest in the outcome due to all fixed prizes
3. The proposed game is not a traditional lottery game as defined
by the CA Supreme Court and in an opinion issued
by the Illinois Attorney General who ruled the IL
Lottery could not play an identically structured game.
The proposed game is not a true lottery game because the payouts do NOT depend on how much money was wagered. In the proposed game, when there are no jackpot winners, the Texas Lottery will retain the jackpot prize money. It does not carry forward to be paid to an eventual winner as does traditional lottery jackpot games. At the same time, the Texas Lottery may pay some or many low tier winners and the TLC may suffer losses.
State lotteries are designed to never suffer a loss due to the fact that lottery operators typically takes a percentage of monies pooled up-front. The proposed game has no prize pool and is played between two parties - the Texas Lottery and the player who bought a ticket.
I do not believe that Texas voters ever thought or intended for their lottery to become a participant in their own games - against the players. But in the proposed game, the Texas Lottery is a player because in each
draw wager, the TLC will either win or lose.
Voters never anticipated when they voted for a lottery that the lottery itself would have an interest in the outcome of any game either. But because of the fixed payouts, clearly the Texas Lottery has an interest in the outcome. Either - a player loses, state wins; or player wins, state loses. This is unlike any traditional jackpot lottery game where lotteries generally dont care who wins simply because they got their money up-front. Now theyll care.
Jan 2006 - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Issues an Opinion
I feel this opinion would be applicable to Texas. (File NO. 06-001). It read in part ...
Ms. Madigan wrote: The distinction between a lottery and a policy game is based not on the manner of play, but on the nature of the betting involved in playing the games. In a lottery, the operator has no interest or stake in the outcome of the game, but merely awards the prize to the winner or winners. A prize is distributed from the amounts paid in, based on a chance event, to all who win. The operator, who typically takes a percentage off the total amounts pooled, has a financial interest in maximizing the number of players. In contrast, the operator of a policy game has an interest in the outcome of the game. Payouts to winners are not, as in the case of a lottery, structured as a distribution from amounts paid in, but instead are fixed, preset payouts. The operator has the chance to retain the wager if it wins, but also risks a loss. Because it pays all winners and suffers all losses, the operator of a policy game is a participant as surely as those who place wagers on the outcome.
2006 Illinois Attorney General Opinion, pdf
The California Supreme Courts Definition of a Lottery
"A lottery must involve distribution of one or more prizes, rather than mere bilateral wagering. A prize must be distinguished from a bet between two persons upon an uncertain future event. When two parties - wager against one another on the outcome of a game, they engage only in gaming.
The understanding and definition of a lottery is that prizes are based on sales - it was sold to the People of Texas that the state would take its money off the top and pay the balance of sales to the People in way of prizes. This game, nor the last game added to the mix - All or Nothing - falls under this premise. Both games should be removed from the mix as it is my understanding that this type of gaming/wagering is illegal in Texas.
I believe too, that the common public understanding of the term lottery - as it was considered by voters in 1991 - was that the lottery would make money and in no way would the lottery ever position itself to suffer any losses. It was a guaranteed win/win situation. It was heavily promoted ... from online games, 38% was allocated for public education, 5% to retailers, 7% was operating expenses and 50% would be returned to players in way of prizes.
If by chance the Texas Lottery were to claim that the state will not lose, then I sincerely hope that the Attorney General will consider the game a scam and take the same action as it would to the public sector for selling a product under false pretenses.
The proposed rule also includes a statement that I feel may be abused. The proposed rule states that the Executive Director "may issue further directives for the conduct of "Texas Triple Chance" that are consistent with this rule." This means if Mr. Grief wanted to take the game to every 5 minutes he can once it's in the mix.
As the matrix implies, Texas Triple Chance is a Keno style game (7/55/10) unlike traditional lottery games - ie 6/54. Keno is widely known/publicized as the worst odds game for gamblers to play.
Just so that you know, there are 202,927,725 combinations in selecting 7 numbers from a pool of 55. But because the Texas Lottery plans to draw 10 balls, the odds of the game are 1-in-1,691,064.
Questionable State Agency Procedures/Actions
The Texas Lottery Commission proposed this game without permission from the Commissioners. While the Executive Director has the authority to do so, it has not been a practice of the lottery in the past. There was no discussion in Commission meetings.
The rule appeared in the Texas Register on Friday, Jan 3, 2014. At the same time, they posted notice for a public comment hearing for Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 - an unreasonable length of time for a notice. I feel this action was underhanded to say the least. Much like the Kentucky Lottery has done, I feel the Texas Lottery is attempting to sweep this game in under the radar too.
Finally, the Texas Lottery obtained permission to purchase balls and machines for this game some months back without explaining the game. This is the second time the Texas Lottery has made such a move and this to me, is a clear indicator, that it doesnt matter what public comment they receive, it is another done deal. The Administrative Code clearly states that they are to consider public comment prior to adopting a rule. How can anyone say they will consider Public Comment when they have already obtained permission to hire additional staff and the equipment to run such a game?
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. I feel it needs immediate attention as the rule is ripe for adoption on Feb 3, 2014.
Let Me Address Three Questions That Keeps Coming In
Quite of few of you have asked if Pick3 and Daily4 - with their preset
prizes - would be included in my thoughts regarding one-on-one
wagering. The answer is NO - because - Pick3 and Daily 4
are NOT "jackpot" games. Jackpot games are games like
Lotto Texas, TX 2 Step, Cash5, Mega Millions, Powerball &
All or Nothing. These games have hefty jackpots unlike
Pick3 and Daily4.
But for the record, I have repeatedly stated that
Pick3 and Daily 4 should have pari-mutuel payouts.
This would guarantee that the People receive
their share of sales which they do not receive.
Second question is - what do I predict the Texas Lottery
will do? Well, if they really want to force this game on the
People of Texas, all they have to do is give it a prize pool
and carry over the jackpot money to be paid out whenever
someone finally wins. Now this goes against the purpose
of offering the game. You see, they want you to play a
game where they get to keep a much larger percentage of
sales to offset declining online sales.
Third question - when will we find out if they adopt this rule?
Well, I heard the next Commission meeting is tentatively set
for Feb 13th. Of course, I have no way of knowing if it will
be discussed in public or not - for all I know Mr. Grief
might call the Commissioners and take a vote by phone!
First posting for Texas Triple Chance,
Second posting for Texas Triple Chance, Click here
Based on the facts presented here, IF you believe
there is any merit to what I've written, I strongly urge you
to contact your state legislator and request that he/she ask
for an AG Opinion regarding the offering of this game.
I would be interested in hearing what you think about this game too.
Email me -
All Texas Games - Sales Pages
Pick3 & Daily 4 - Sales and payouts, click here
Lotto Texas - Prizes & sales, click here
Texas 2 Step - Prizes & sales, click here
Cash 5 - Prize amounts & sales, click here
Mega Millions - Lottery Sales by the draw, click here
Mega Millions - Lottery Sales by State, click here
Lotto Texas - Lottery Sales by the draw, click here
Powerball - Sales by State, click here
Powerball - Lottery Sales by the draw, click here
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